Daily Archives: June 19, 2014

Surprise, surprise team

Meet Phil Steele’s number one preseason surprise team for 2014:

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia was a much stronger team at the start of last season than the one that finished 8-5 with a loss to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. The key to the downfall of their season was a huge amount of injuries at the skill positions on offense. This season’s team caught a break from last season’s misfortune, as quarterback Hutson Mason got in nearly three games of experience at the end of 2013. He will also be surrounded by my No. 2 set of running backs in the country, led by Todd Gurley, and my No. 10 set of receivers. The offensive line is a bit of a question but does have 54 career starts among its members.

Last season, they had just three returning starters on defense, and, as you would expect, the inexperienced unit allowed 29 points per game. This season they have eight returning starters, led by a linebacking corps that I rank No. 1 in the country. In 2013, they played Clemson and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks but have a bye between them this time. I really like new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s attitude on defense, and keep in mind he has coached on the past three national championship teams (Alabama 2011 and 2012, Florida State 2013) and could make it four in a row here.

For what it’s worth, last year’s pick was FSU.

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20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

A little afternoon Dawg Porn

Jeremy Pruitt, unleash the hounds!

On the coaching front, Rankin reinforced the offseason theme: Simpler is better, thanks to new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

“Pruitt just simplified everything. It’s just so simple. It’s night and day,” Rankin said. “We knew the play, but then it was so much going on. The plays this year are so much simpler.”

C’mon, admit the idea of watching the defense line up for a play without any frantic gesturing gets you a little excited.  It’s okay.

Although Grantham’s towel will be missed.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

If you’re wondering how the O’Bannon defense could come off sounding so dumb throughout the trial, let South Carolina President Harris Pastides explains it to you:

Wednesday, Pastides and Muir did a great job explaining why college and college athletics are good, but they failed to explain why athletes would be harmed by gaining the ability to market their name, image and likeness rights — which is all that really matters in terms of the case. Asked what might happen if players gained such rights, Pastides said this: “It would render athletes who don’t receive these rewards as second-class citizens. It would make them feel worse about themselves.”

Makes you wonder how Pastides feels about Steve Spurrier making millions more than he does.  Them hurted fee-fees are a bitch, ‘ya know.

Besides being sensitive to student-athletes’ feelings, Pastides also demonstrated some short-term memory issues on the stand.  If the players wind up getting a cut from the revenue pie, he warned that something would have to give, because there just wasn’t any more money in the system.

Mah goodness, whatever shall they do, Miz Scarlett?  And to think it was only about a month ago Pastides and his SEC brethren were receiving the Word of Gawd from Mike Slive himself about all that new SEC Network money that would be rolling in soon!  Heavens to Betsy, do you think that just slipped ol’ Harris’ mind?

Pastides, remember, is a college president.  He’s one of the guys driving this train.

31 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Other than that, he’s perfect.

Chris Low has this to say about his third-best linebacker in the SEC:

There are a couple caveats with the 6-3, 240-pound Maggitt. He missed all of last season after recovering from a knee injury, and he’s also likely to line up more at end than outside linebacker.

Hmm.  The conference must really be thin at the position this season.

10 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro.

Talk about your Freudian slip:

Skeptical, the lawyer for the plaintiffs read Pilson a quote from the writings of the late Paul “Bear” Bryant, in which the legendary University of Alabama coach observed in retirement, “I used to go along with the idea that football players on scholarship were student athletes, which is what the NCAA calls them, meaning student first and athlete second. We were kidding ourselves, trying to make it more palatable to the academicians. We don’t have to say that, and we shouldn’t. At the level we play, the boy is really an athlete first and a student second.”

That was a win for the plaintiffs, just getting that in the court record. But then it got better.

Much better.

The lawyer, Bill Isaacson, asked Pilson if he thought such an opinion has an impact on the affection that Crimson Tide fans have for their team, and more broadly, television ratings for games.

Pilson bristled, responding, “We’re talking about the strongest possible school in terms of pro football. I read what Bear says, but I — I think, frankly, the University of Alabama football advocates follow their team win or lose, paying them or not.”

You read that right. The court transcript did not get it wrong. Pilson called Bama a pro team.

Besides the pro team comment, read that last sentence of Pilson’s carefully.  He took the position that paying student-athletes would make college football less attractive to its fans, yet there clearly says that Tide fans couldn’t care less about payment.  (Hell, let’s face it – a major chunk of that fan base would support payment if it got Nick Saban even one more five-star, right?)

Then, again, maybe it wasn’t a slip after all.

Most interesting about Pilson’s oral gaffe on the stand was that no one — not the judge or even the NCAA’s lawyers — tried to correct his testimony.

19 Comments

Filed under The NCAA, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Who wants to be a selection committee member?

The more I hear about the playoff selection committee, the less impressed I grow.  Oliver Luck, the West Virginia AD and member of the committee, admits that he and his colleagues probably won’t be able to watch everything they need to make an informed decision.  But don’t worry, peeps, Luck thinks they’ve got that covered.

Luck admitted it would be impossible for every committee member to watch every game of college football this season. That’s why Luck said the committee also would be leaning heavily on analytics and technology to help differentiate teams.

“I’m not sure this committee could do this without the technology that exists today,” he said. “All the stuff these analytics guys are going to provide us is going to be extraordinarily helpful. We’ll be able to call up any game, in whatever sequence we’d like. For example, all third downs for Missouri when they were playing Texas A&M. We’ll have all that access, which will be really helpful.

“But we’re also going to use our eyeballs. Everyone also has their friends, their former teammates or former coaches or whatever. We’ll all use our support systems a little bit differently. But ultimately, with only one goal: to make the best decision we can.”

Support systems? Is that like Phone-a-Friend?

28 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Hello, I must be going.

Four months after signing day, Hunter Atkinson walks away from college football… hell, walks away from college[Update:  He says he's staying in school.]  More power to him, of course.

But as MaconDawg points out, health at the tight end position just became a very dicey affair this season for Georgia.

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Life After Football